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Last movie theater closes in Long Beach

Long Beach Cinemas

Long Beach Cinemas Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Long Beach appears to have lost its movie theater.

Long Beach Cinemas abruptly closed last week with no explanation. Representatives of Philips International, which has operated the movie house since 2002, didn’t respond to requests for comment this week. Long Beach officials also haven’t yet been able to find out the reason for the closure.

“When we called we were told, ‘No comment, speak to the bank,’ ” said City Manager Charles T. Theofan. He added that city officials were investigating whether Philips had encountered financial problems.

The four-screen theater has served much of the south shore in eastern Nassau because a 2005 arson fire closed the Oceanside Twin and there also are no movie palaces in the Five Towns. Without the theater on East Park Avenue at Long Beach Road, residents of the seaside city wanting to see a flick nearby must travel to Rockville Centre, where one of two cinemas has closed, Valley Stream, Lynbrook or Baldwin.

Philips, based in Manhattan, is one of the metropolitan area’s largest real estate developers. Its portfolio includes more than 200 office, condominium and retail properties in six states.

Among the company’s nearly 30 holdings on Long Island are Bellmore Shopping Center, Philips Plaza in Lynbrook, Uniondale Shopping Center, Riverhead Plaza and Deer Cross Commons in Deer Park.

In Long Beach, Philips also owns Park Avenue Plaza, whose tenants include a Pier I Imports store and JPMorganChase bank branch. The plaza is across the street from Long Beach Cinemas.

In 1989, company executive Philip Pilevsky joined two other developers in a joint venture with the Cineplex Odeon chain to purchase four movie houses in Suffolk. A decade or so later, he bought the Long Beach theater, which had been shuttered.

Pilevsky expanded the former Lido Theater by demolishing an adjacent store. The site has been home to a movie house since the 1920s, according to Carole Shahda Geraci, president of the Long Beach Historical and Preservation Society.

Long Beach Cinemas appeared to be prospering until last week, when the names of movies being shown were removed from the marquee and posters for upcoming attractions were taken down. There also was no notice in the darkened box office telling patrons of the shutdown.

“It appears to be closed but we don’t know why,” said Michael J. Kerr, president of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.

George Ennis, co-founder of a local film festival baring his name, said he called the theater’s manager last week after seeing the empty marquee and locked doors. Ennis, a Long Beach resident, had scheduled a festival screening for May at the theater.

“The manager told me the owners came in and said, ‘We’re wrapping up things here,’ ” Ennis said. “He thought they had come to talk about renovations but within a few hours everything was closed.”

The manager did not respond to a voice-mail message.

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